A space where family, friends and anyone else can follow our adventures. We are a homeschooling, crafting, music-making, back-flipping wonderfully crazy family living on the coast of Maine enjoying everything life has to offer us!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Another Chair Re-do

So I have been loving the Alabama Studio Style book.  So many fun projects for me to play with.  This one though came together oh so perfectly...
I came across this chair for $5 recently and knew exactly what I had to do!  I've had a pile of Greg's old white t-shirts sitting in my craffice for a while now.  I figured I'd just turn them into rags, but after reading my new book I found a much better use for them.  I threw them all in the wash with some Scarlet dye and and cut them into strips!
These little "cotton jersey pulls" as they are called in the book will have many uses I know.  I made this necklace for myself just while I was cutting strips!  Guess what everyone is getting for Christmas:)
Just three pulls tied together with some wooden beads I had around (of course red and turquoise as I am obsessed with the color combo right now).  Cool huh!

OK back to the chair:

 Ta Da!  I put two coats of paint on the chair and after it dried I wove the pulls through the seat.
The directions are clearly laid out in the book, but really it was like making a giant pot holder (remember your pot holder loom from the 70s).  I made the weft from front to back and wove from side to side.   The book has you leave your little tied ends like a bit of fringe and I have to say I love it.  I actually added a few here and there just to even things out.
Molly helped a bunch and we both really enjoyed the process.
Even  Tucker is proud!  I can't believe how much I love this chair.  I want to make another, it's sturdy and functional while seeming a bit like a piece of art!  I'll be on the lookout for broken down ladder back chairs in need of a little love.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Plain and Simple Fun

I can't believe that we are coming up onto Labor day weekend!  How on earth did that happen?  One week till school starts...really?  I don't feel ready, though I must admit I am looking forward to a more consistent rhythm.  For the joy of summer chaos is wonderful if not somewhat exhausting.
The last few days have been full for this little family.

 We've spent time with our sweet cousin Charlotte (oh she is irresistible)
 a bit of painting, this particular project is an on-going gnome village the kids are working on, I for one am anxious to see the end result.

swimming with friends

 s'mores over a backyard fire...yum!
and napping dogs.
And I've started working on a crochet rag rug, I am excited about this fun little project and will share more as it progresses (as well as the quilt).
As usual we have lots going on, we'll be spending this week trying to get ready for the school year ahead and doing some room re-arranging.
Is your school year starting soon?  What are you doing to get ready or have a bit of fun in between?

Linking with Amanda

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sewing With Knits

Recently  Meg McElwee of Sew Liberated offered her craftsy course for half price!  How could I say no to that; 4 patterns (already worth the price) plus hours of Meg in an on-line course that I can access any time!  I was sold.
Well, what do you know...that sweet girl of mine sat down the other night and watched Meg explain how to make the fleece hoodie (first pattern in the set) and then got to work.
 We had picked up the fabric (a velvety soft pink) recently as I was going to attempt the hoodie for her...clearly I wasn't needed.

I know I could have posted 2 pictures and you would have gotten the idea, but I am so proud of this little lady of mine!  She truly did an amazing job don't ya think?  I'm thinking I'll go get some more fabric and see if she'll make me one.  I can't recommend Meg's class enough if you are at all hesitant with sewing knits.  Her directions are clear and her teaching style is fun and relaxed.  I'm thinking Molly will be making something else soon, and if I can get close to the sewing machine I'll take my turn (really wanting to make the dress looks soooo comfy) so we will be sure to keep you posted.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Quilt

A while ago I mentioned my urge to make a quilt.  I've experimented a bit with the pillows, but I decided it was time to take the plunge!  Actually it was a mutual decision with my good friend at Dragonfly Farm.  She and I have been talking about it for a while So when Alwives had a big sale recently we planned a beach day with the kiddos that just happened to drive us right by...
 After much shopping, hemming and hawing and redirecting 3 very bored little boys we both decided on Amy Butler fat quarter packs.  I'm using Lark and I must say I'm head over heals in love.  I've got to get more of the Chinese lanterns (above left), I think that the Washi dress would look great in this print!  But one thing at a time folks.  Right?
This is what my squares will look like.  No particular order or pattern, just totally random.   I've got everything cut and the rectangles on the left side of the square are sewn together (yay)!  We went to Dragonfly farm for dinner last night and my lovely friend is WAY ahead of me...she likes to keep me on my toes that girl!  Of course I am thankful, without her enthusiasm it is quite possible that that project could end up in a pile lost in the craffice.  I'm excited and a bit nervous, already I've realized that I cut all my pieces out w/out thinking about a seam allowance...oops, probably quilting 101, but since I haven't taken that class nor am I using a pattern, mistakes will be made, I will learn from them and hopefully my new quilt will be finished this fall when the weather turns a bit colder.
 Of course every time I get my things out to work on, these crazy kids of mine want to get sewing something of their own.

And who am I to say no to  a little creativity.  So I have a feeling a few get together with homegrown food and fun will be in order so we can finish these not so little projects we have started.

Friday, August 17, 2012

This Moment

Joining Soulemama for {this moment} - A Friday ritual. A single photo - no words - capturing a moment from the week. A simple, special, extraordinary moment. A moment I want to pause, savor and remember.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dining Al Fresco

I love being outside...something about it makes me so happy.  The breeze, the birds, grass...I just love having another "room" outside to spend time in.  One of my favorite things is to have dinner outside.  Just as the sun has started to relax and the air is just a bit cooler (though still quite humid as of late).

This table cloth is my favorite, it belonged to Greg's grandma Becky and I feel a certain sense of pride every time I put it out.  Not to mention that a vintage table cloth on a picnic table is perfect in my mind.  I try and walk around the yard to pick some fresh flowers for a center piece and then even the simplest dinner seems extra special.
notice that cat of ours trying to get in on the action!

Cole Slaw in my new Pyrex and some BBQ pulled chicken ( a stand by lately) is just the right meal on a summer evening like this.  The trill of our family being together for a simple meal  is something that I truly treasure. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Gearing Up

Don't get me wrong, I'm not giving up on summer just yet, there is still plenty of adventuring to do and fun to be had; but it is time to start getting ready for the school year ahead.
For me that means trying to find a rhythm again...summer has included some lazy days of sleeping in and doing as we please (not that we don't ever have those days during the school year).  I find that I am most productive and get the most done when I rise early before the rest of the family and just have a bit of time to myself.  I suspect that this does something to my mood as well because the hubs seemed thrilled to see me up baking this morning.  He smiled, kissed me and told me it warms his heart...Now I know for a fact he wasn't referring to the fact the kitchen was looking a bit like a tornado had blown through with the relics of both zucchini bread and gluten free zucchini muffins (hmmmmm...what else to make w/ the zucchini and squash that the kids will eat without complaint). 
I've been spending a lot of time these last few days thinking about curriculum for the kids this year.  We haven't used one curriculum but have always pieced things together as we see fit.  This year the kids are switching to Saxon math.  The last two years we were using math mammoth and while it worked well at first we ended up not liking it so much last year. 
I'm thrilled to have discovered History Odyssey!  We have been on a search for a good history curriculum for a while now and I'm thinking this study guide will fit the bill quite nicely.  It's a literature based history and geography course with year long lessons including great books and writing.  I especially like that it has 3 levels so the books and lessons can really hone in on the age group you are working with.  We are starting with Middle Ages level 2.  We did Story of the World Ancient times last year and this one picks up with the Fall of the Roman Empire (just where SOW left off) with some more challenging assignments.  I'm excited to see if I'm right about this one, and I'll be sure to let you know.
For more writing we'll be trying out Writing with Skill and The Creative Writer.  Both of these books seem like a good fit for my middle grade kiddos.  Should be fun all around, we have one who loves to write and one who love math...I'm undecided about ordering more grammar work books this year, we've just used simple ones like this which have been perfect.  I'm wondering this year if writing will combine the grammar enough so that it doesn't need to be a separate lesson?  Any thoughts?
We're working some french this year with a few beginning french texts I've picked up at book sales over the summer...honestly we didn't do enough last year, vowing to do better this year.
Looking forward to using the microscope this year
I guess the biggest decision yet to be made about school is science.  A secular curriculum is a must, but what to do has yet to be decided.  We did like Real Science 4 Kids last year.  Though Molly informed me recently it wasn't "real" chemistry.  When I asked what "real" chemistry was she replied "you blow stuff up"...hmmmm.  We may go ahead with their biology and physics or try just using a text book (I've got Glenco's Life Science).  What are folks using for middle grades?  I'd love to hear.
I'd also love to know what Greg has in store for his lessons this year.  I asked about art history and he seems to feel that art from our history studies is "bad", we shall see.  In the mean time, I'm off to enjoy a bit of time with my boy (Molly is at team camp this week).
Are you gearing up yet?  When are you planning on starting school?

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A Craftastic Kind of Day

Yesterday was hot and I was thrilled that the kiddos were requesting just a mellow day to do some crafting, and boy did we!

Molly made this sweet little clutch from fabric scraps!  "winging it" of course, she does have her mama's genes for that one.  She even used the button hole maker on the sewing machine like a pro!  This girl loves to create!

Corey finished this sweet little pin cushion from Zakka Style as a thank you to a dear friend in Georgia who made him a gorgeous quilt for his bed!  He was very hesitant to sew on the buttons, but quite proud when he did.

Being the active guy that he is, after his sewing was finished he quickly moved on to another favorite craft of his:  Popsicle sticks and a glue gun!
 This bridge and doll were from the other day actually, kids working together, but hey it's pretty darned cute!

This is the project I spent most of my day working on...an organizer, heavily inspired by Zakka Style as well, but a snap instead of zipper.  I love it!  I quickly filled it with all my goods and threw it in my bag.

Once the day cooled down a bit we moved outside for a lovely dinner.  I was so proud, you see the problem with these wonderfully craftastic days is this; The poor hubs comes home to a house that looks like the local craft emporium exploded, the two kids and myself all up in his face eager to show him all the AMAZING things we've made, and when he asked about dinner...oops...we got busy.
So as I was saying, so proud, I had dinner ready complete with a peach crisp in the oven (peaches from our tree) and that poor guy got a call 2/3 of the way home and had to turn around and go back to work and deal with an emergency!
It all ended well.  That sweet man of mine made it home to enjoy tostadas and peach crisp, we showed all of our goods, Molly moved on to a gorgeous embroidery project, which of course meant Corey and I needed to start some too, we had a bit of snuggle time as a family and all hit the hay exhausted.
All in all, a great day.